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Employees 'being taken to the cleaners'

THE practice of "sham contracting" is ripping off commercial cleaning employees around Australia, Spotless Group chairman Peter Smedley says.

THE practice of "sham contracting" is ripping off commercial cleaning employees around Australia, Spotless Group chairman Peter Smedley says.

There was a growing trend among cleaning firms to hire staff as self-employed contractors, either directly or through third parties, but these staff were actually employees by any legal or commercial definition, according to Mr Smedley.

These workers were missing out on pay and conditions, work cover, payroll tax and superannuation.

"The clear objective of this sham contracting is to purchase labour at a rate below fair market rates," Mr Smedley told a business function yesterday. He said he encouraged the private and public sectors to ensure they were not unknowingly complicit in such a practice.

"An uneven playing field arises when a buyer of commercial cleaning, including government, specifies award compliance as part of their outsource conditions and does not take responsibility to ensure that successful cleaning contractors are compliant," Mr Smedley said.


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